Report suggests major savings at county nursing home
An initial draft of a report assessing the county-owned Pleasant Acres Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has made more than $3 million in cost-saving recommendations.
The county contracted RKL, a Harrisburg-based consulting firm, in September to perform an operational assessment of the nursing home, which is expected to need nearly $8 million in subsidies from the county to operate during 2017.
County solicitor Glenn Smith said at the commissioners' meeting on Wednesday that a drafted report from that assessment listed recommendations that could result in more than $3 million in annual savings.
"We're obviously pleased with that outcome," Smith said, adding that the figure is only a prediction.
RKL representatives could not be reached to describe their assessment, but Commissioner Doug Hoke said many of the recommendations centered around staffing decisions. Hoke mentioned that a shortage of nurses has led the county to contract outside agencies and pay numerous overtime expenses.
Selling the nursing home has been discussed by commissioners for many years because of the facility's high costs.
The commissioners passed a 12 percent property tax increase for 2017, and Commissioner Chris Reilly said afterward that he wouldn't vote for another increase until the county sells Pleasant Acres or eliminates its structural deficit.
Reilly said the savings described in RKL's report is a start, but it's not enough.
Hoke has been an avid supporter of the county continuing to operate the nursing home, but he said he's willing to keep an open mind as they consider RKL's report.
Hoke acknowledged that the facility needs to become more efficient, but he said he wants the county to continue operating it because he's had so many people tell him about relatives and friends who have been afforded great care there.
The RKL report will be distributed and discussed with various county department heads and managers at Pleasant Acres before actions are taken, Hoke added.